Kunbi Tinuoye is an award-winning British-born journalist and broadcaster based in the United States. She is the founder and CEO of UrbanGeekz.com, a groundbreaking digital news platform focused on technology, science and business.
The first-of-its-kind video centric website is geared towards the African American, Latino and multicultural market. Headquartered in Atlanta, UrbanGeekz offers reviews, interviews, commentary and original video on startups, commerce, geek gadgets, social media, scientific advancements, alongside insight into the workings of Silicon Valley and the global tech industry.
Kunbi is one of the original founders of Aspire, a support network for ethnic minority journalists in the United Kingdom. The organization has partnered with and attracted sponsorship from mainstream media outlets, including the BBC, Channel 4, Trinity-Mirror, The Guardian and the Financial Times. She graduated from Trinity College, University of Cambridge, with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Social & Political Sciences.
When did UrbanGeekz launch and what inspired you to start your business?
The site went live on February 9, 2015, after months of preparation. I spotted a gap in the market. I did not see enough coverage on issues related to technology on minority-owned news platforms. Mainstream tech sites also do not pay enough attention to the growing multicultural market.
Knowing that the big tech firms heavily skew towards male, white, and Asian was also another factor. But for me this is more than a business venture. It’s a labor of love. My mission is to make technology more accessible, while highlighting STEM fields, business and entrepreneurship as exciting career paths, especially for women and underserved communities.
What was your career path prior to starting your first business?
Prior to launching UrbanGeekz, I was a news correspondent for NBC’s African-American online news platform theGrio. I have also worked was a senior broadcast journalist for the BBC in London. I am an international writer whose work has been published on Ebony.com, the Daily Mail, London’s Evening Standard, and The Voice newspaper. For a number of years, I also served on the editorial advisory board for Cambridge Alumni Magazine (CAM), which is distributed to approximately 150,000 readers globally per edition.
What happens during a typical day at UrbanGeekz?
There’s never really a typical day, but I wear many hats, from overseeing the editorial vision of the website to weekly meetings with the marketing team. The company is based in Atlanta Tech Village, the largest technology startup incubator in the Southeast.
What are you currently working on?
I’m working on multiple projects but primarily securing exclusive interviews along with building the credibility and reputation of the brand.
What do you love the most about running your own business?
It is empowering to take a ‘back of a napkin’ concept and then work towards turning an idea into a viable business. Launching an innovative startup has also given me the flexibility to set my own agenda and tap into my creativity. I also love the energy, intimacy, and collaborative process of working with a small-dedicated team that’s committed to the overall vision of the company.
What is the toughest part when it comes to running your own business?
The hardest part of running a startup is having big ideas without all the resources to activate your vision.
What has been your biggest achievement so far at UrbanGeekz?
The website is only nine months old and in a short time we have gained a lot of traction, including successful strategic partnerships with AT&T, Black Enterprise, and 20th Century Fox, among others. This month we partnered with a leading Los Angeles advertising agency for Intel’s latest diversity campaign. I’m also extremely proud of an article we wrote about a STEM-based teen reality TV show that went viral across social media platforms.
How do you stay productive? What strategies do you adopt to make this happen?
It’s not hard for me to be productive because I’m so excited by my brand, but I try to stay focused by planning and setting realistic goals on a weekly basis.
Can you tell us about the biggest obstacle you’ve overcome as an entrepreneur and how you pushed past it?
Being an entrepreneur isn’t for the fainthearted. You need a huge amount of faith, self-belief and dogged determination. My biggest challenge after the initial launch was access to resources and finances. But that just pushed the team to be more creative. I have had a lot of success building my team and forming strategic and mutually beneficial partnerships. I’m a firm believer in collaboration and working on collective strengths.
What are you looking forward to accomplishing?
UrbanGeekz is on track to becoming an established and reputable brand.
What’s next? What goals are you working towards?
We will continue to build a loyal audience and produce quality and engaging content. We also hope to secure interviews with some of the big players and Silicon Valley executives. Further down the line the team will announce details of ‘The UrbanGeekz 100’ – an annual list of emerging and established multicultural leaders who have demonstrated power and influence in technology, science and business. The handpicked list will culminate with an on-site exclusive awards gala honoring these dynamic leaders and influencers of color who have achieved success in their prospective industries.
If you could have dinner with any entrepreneur who would it be and why?
I’d love to have dinner with the one and only Oprah Winfrey. She is a formidable powerhouse who’s managed to achieve spectacular success across multiple platforms.
What advice would you give to someone who is considering launching a start-up?
There’s no point duplicating the big players with limited resources. Do your research to create a product or service that’s unique, innovative and appealing to a broad base of consumers.
Interview by Octavia Goredema @OctaviaGoredema